Darvaza Gas Craters, Turkmenistan

Darvaza Gas Craters, Turkmenistan

adventure travel & photography

Destinations: Pakistan ◦◦ India ◦◦Turkey ◦◦ Egypt ◦◦ Bulgaria ◦◦ Mongolia ◦◦ Bangladesh ◦◦ Jordan ◦◦ Russia ◦◦ Turkmenistan ◦◦ Iran ◦◦ Kazakhstan ◦◦ Japan ◦◦ Hong Kong ◦◦ Greece ◦◦ Ukraine ◦◦ Syria ◦◦ Morocco ◦◦ Italy ◦◦ Mauritania ◦◦ Oman ◦◦ Algeria ◦◦ Faroe Islands ◦◦ Indonesia ◦◦ Uzbekistan ◦◦ Ghana ◦◦ Togo ◦◦ Nepal

Type: Photo stories ◦◦ Places ◦◦ Documentary ◦◦ Black and White ◦◦ Limited Edition Fine Art Prints ◦◦ Unlimited Edition Fine Art Prints ◦◦ Seascapes ◦◦ Urban ◦◦ Thousand Voyages Video Collection

Tours/Expeditions: List with all our scheduled tours and expeditions

About the place

In May 2016, I led a small group to Turkmenistan. The highlight of the trip was the Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the "Gate to Hell".

The first of the three Darvaza craters is actually filled with water bubbling under pressure from the released gas. The second crater is also a huge muddy hole with several fiery pits.


However, the third crater is the largest, hottest, and most attractive of them all.

Join us on a journey through Turkmenistan

The crater has a diameter of 70 meters and a depth of 30 meters. The bottom is covered with individual fireplaces, that have been burning continuously since 1971. At that time, a group of Soviet geologists discovered gas deposits in the area, so they began drilling in hopes of finding oil. However, large underground cavities collapsed, creating these craters. The geologists were concerned that leaking gas would endanger nearby villages, so they set it on fire. They believed it would take several weeks to burn all the gas, but they were mistaken.

If you're worried about missing this natural phenomenon before it disappears, do not worry - the gas deposits found in the area are among the world's largest.

However, there are concerns about the crater. In April 2010, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow recommended measures to limit the crater's impact on the development of other natural gas fields in the area. In January 2022, Berdimuhamedov announced plans to extinguish the crater due to its negative effects on the environment and public health. A commission was established to find the best technique for doing so.


The view around the crater is stunning. Occasionally, the wind blows, stirring up the heat from inside and splashing it on the tourists, who quickly retreat. Although we did not spend the night there, we had a barbecue and spent enough time to enjoy every angle of this magnificent place. An evening picnic in front of the flaming throat of the crater is a wonderful experience. The fiery reflections of the setting sun in the sky and the flames from the burning gas down in the crater create a mesmerizing ambiance. It's a great experience!

Join us on a journey through Turkmenistan

Explorer George Kourounis was the first person to step on the bottom of the burning inferno. The entire operation was filmed by a National Geographic Society team and aired on the famous channel in 2014. The strangest things that the explorer brought back from the bottom of the crater were extremophile microorganisms, living beings that have found their natural habitat in such extreme conditions as the craters of Darvaza.


Digital downloads and prints available

Darvaza Gas Craters in Turkmenistan - digital downloads and prints


Darvaza Gas Craters

Travel to Turkmenistan

Join us on a trip to Turkmenistan with a small group of up to 7/ 8people

We usually have one or two small groups (max 7/8 participants) per year travelling to Turkmenistan. If you are interested in joining a group setting out from Europe, please drop me a line. We will provide more information, like dates, a program, and other details.

I organize and lead small groups to Turkmenistan through my licensed travel agency "Thousand Voyages" Ltd. You can find out more about the guided tours here.

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